Knowing the quantity of solid waste that is generated is one of the key elements needed for designing effective management methods for solid waste. The solid waste manager should know the quantity of waste to be managed before attempting to identify appropriate types of collection, material recycling and recovery facilities, and waste treatment and /or disposal facilities.
The quantity of solid waste generated mainly depends on:
- status and development of a country
- socio-economic condition
- availability of resources
- geographic location
- attitude of waste generator and /or manufactures
- availability and enforcement of law to regulate waste and promote recycling and resource recovery
- season of year
- level of technological advancement
The quantity of solid waste generated is important in establishing the costing of processing the waste. Historically, waste has been measured by tonnage at the point of disposal, rather than by when and where it was generated. Thus, where the waste produced is dealt with on site, as with agriculture waste in industrialized countries or the uncollected portion of municipal waste in developing countries, these figures are not collected or included in most statistics. Therefore, the figures on collected waste are more reliable than the figures on waste generation. Industrialized countries obviously produce higher levels of waste in various forms making effective disposal of the waste considerably more difficult. In these countries the traditional landfill is no longer appropriate.